Read meningitis.pdf text version

Meningitis

Patient and Family Education

This teaching sheet contains general information only. Your child's doctor or a member of your child's health care team will talk with you about specific care for your child.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid and meninges (coverings) of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can make children very sick, but does not usually cause death.

What causes meningitis?

There are two types of meningitis - viral (also called aseptic) and bacterial. Many kinds of viruses can cause viral meningitis. The most common type of viral meningitis is enterovirus. Only a few kinds of bacteria (germs) cause bacterial meningitis. A virus or bacteria can enter the body through the nose or mouth and travel to different places in the body. For most people, this causes an infection in the nose, throat or ear. Usually, the infection stops there. It becomes meningitis when the virus or bacteria travels through the bloodstream to the brain and spinal cord.

What is the difference between viral and bacterial meningitis?

Viral meningitis is the most common form. It is usually less severe. Bacterial meningitis is very serious. The bacteria (germ) can destroy the tissue that they infect.

Is meningitis easy to catch?

You cannot catch meningitis from just being in the same room for a short time with someone who has it. The germs that cause meningitis are spread from person to person by direct contact. This may include: Sharing a pacifier, toothbrush, eating utensils, or drinking glasses Drooling Shaking hands Kissing Breathing, sneezing or coughing on someone The virus may also be found in the stool of the infected person. Catching the virus or bacteria doesn't mean your child will get meningitis. Most people usually only get an ear, nose or throat infection.

Are children more likely than adults to catch meningitis?

Yes, for two reasons. Children have not yet built up antibodies against viruses and bacteria. Small children have closer contact with each other than adults do.

In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

Pediatrics l PFEP 047 / 10.10 / Meningitis Page 1 of 3

Meningitis, continued

Is there a season for meningitis?

Viral meningitis occurs more in the summer and fall. Bacterial meningitis occurs more in the winter.

What are the symptoms of meningitis?

Symptoms depend on the bacteria or virus that causes the illness. They also depend on how severe the disease is. Your child may have one or more of these: For children over 1 year old The illness may start like a cold or flu and then turn into meningitis Fever (temperature over 100.4°F) Severe headache Stiff neck Bright lights that hurt the eyes Not able to eat or drink Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea Confusion Sluggish or listless May have a rash that does not go away when the skin is pressed For babies less than 1 year old: Fever (temperature over 100.4°F) Poor feeding Vomiting Change in behavior such as: Very irritable, even when held and soothed High pitched cry Arching of the back Sleeps more than usual Does not smile or show interest in playing for at a least a few minutes during any 4 hour period May have a rash that does not go away when the skin is pressed Many illnesses can cause these same symptoms. Meningitis can be hard to recognize.

What tests could my child have?

Your child could have one or more of these: Blood tests Spinal tap - a test to check the spinal fluid for bacteria. A needle is placed in the lower back to obtain the spinal fluid. CT scan - a special type of X-ray to check for other problems in the brain.

What is the treatment?

Treatment depends on the cause. Some general guidelines may include: Viral ­ there is no specific treatment Antibiotics are not needed. They may be given until the cause of the meningitis is known. Support care with rest, fluids and medicine for fever and headache.

In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

Pediatrics l PFEP 047 / 10.10 / Meningitis Page 2 of 3

Meningitis, continued

Bacterial Intravenous (IV) antibiotics and fluids. Steroids to help reduce the inflammation in the brain. Support care with rest, fluids, oxygen and medicine for fever and headache.

How can I help prevent meningitis in my child?

There are 4 vaccines to help prevent certain kinds of meningitis: The Hib vaccine protects against haemophilus influenza B. It is one of the shots babies get with their regular vaccines. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is for children less than 2 years of age. It is one of the shots babies get with their regular vaccines. The pneumococcal vaccine (PPV) is for anyone older than 2 years of age. This vaccine may be given to certain high-risk children. The meningococcal vaccine is given to all children at 11 ­ 12 years of age. If a child did not get the vaccine at this age, it can be given anytime during the teen years. It is also given to high-risk adults such as college students and military recruits. Good hand washing can also help prevent the spread of meningitis. Have your child wash his hands well if he comes in contact with someone with meningitis. Teach your entire family to wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after spending time in a public place. Or, you may use an alcohol hand cleaner.

What problems can bacterial meningitis cause?

Most children get better if they get treatment right away. Some severe problems may include: Blindness Speech loss Brain damage Seizures Paralysis

What should I do if one of my child's friends has meningitis?

It depends on whether or not your child had very close contact with the sick child. If your child had close contact, call your child's doctor or local health department right away. Your child may need an antibiotic or vaccine. If your child did not have close contact with the other child, your child does not need to see the doctor unless he has symptoms.

In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

Pediatrics l PFEP 047 / 10.10 / Meningitis Page 3 of 3

Information

3 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

1145065


You might also be interested in

BETA
Microsoft Word - Student Handbook 2009-2010.docx
Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Conditions in Kenya
VSample Questions 2002
Immunizing Children Against Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)